From 2015 to 2016, Facebook is said to have developed and operated an app with which employees could identify Facebook users on the street using face recognition.
It sounds like a scene from Minority Report. A Facebook employee points his smartphone at the crowd in the pedestrian zone of any city and directly sees the people’s Facebook profiles in focus on the display.
App showed names and profile pictures of any user
Such an app, unclear in which expansion stage, is said to have existed from 2015 to 2016 at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Employees of the social media giant are said to have tested the company’s face recognition technology in real operation. The information shown was limited to the profile picture and the name of the “scanned” persons. This reports Business Insider and refers to company sources.
Facebook denies general face recognition
In a statement to CNet, Facebook acknowledges the existence of the facial recognition app “in a very early version”, but denies that it was able to recognize anyone. Rather, it was technically limited to Facebook employees and their circle of friends. In addition, anyone who could have been recognized would have had to give their express consent. The company always develops internal apps. This is a “way to learn about new technologies”. Why Facebook discontinued the app is not known.
Business Insider assumes that the limitation to employees did not take place until later and sticks to the idea that face recognition could have been applied to any person.
Checking face recognition in Facebook settings
Facebook is now using face recognition technology quite regularly in its main service anyway. In Facebook Settings > Face Recognition, users can choose whether to allow the service to automatically recognize them in photos and videos. Having been enabled by default for a long time, users now have to turn on recognition manually. People who have been on Facebook for some time should check the switch again. It is very likely that it is activated.